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Old 10-05-2008, 11:44 AM   #1
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Rebuilding an interior wall


I'm not quite sure where this post belongs, so mods feel free to move it to the appropriate spot.

At the beginning of the year I bought a 1940s-built two-story home in Montreal. In traditional Montreal style, the top floor and main floor have exactly the same divisions and are each separate apartments (with the standard curly staircase to the top floor). The side walls of the home are shared with the neighbors in the standard 'terraced' housing style. The shared side walls appear to be cement brick covered in some kind of mortar (?) and then a thin layer of plaster.

I'm renovating one of the rooms into a home office. The entire room has a single electrical outlet, and because of the building style there is on way to run cables through the walls on the side walls. The house has settled since it was built, and in the room we'd like to renovate the plaster has cracked diagonally from floor to ceiling. A couple hits with a hammer and chisel, and a large chunk came right off. It appears the rest will come off relatively easily.

I'm curious to know how I should redo this interior wall. Options I've considerd:

(1) Fix up the plaster. (However, the plaster work is far from perfect, and the wall is noticeably 'wavy' when looked at from a flat angle.)
(2) Put thin drywall over the plaster. Easy, fast and gives a nice finish.
(3) Frame in some 2x2s (tapconned into the cement bricks), and put drywall over this. This gives me space behind the drywall to put in some wiring, which I'd really like to do (a telephone jack, another power plug or two, plus some network wiring).
(4) Same as (3), but first remove all the old plaster/mortar and expose the raw cement bricks.

Is (3) good enough, or should I do (4)? Is (4) worthwhile, or is just unnecessary headache?

Any comments would be greatly appreciated!

Chris






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Old 10-05-2008, 09:37 PM   #2
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Rebuilding an interior wall


If I were faced with this problem I would just build a real 2x4 framed wall right in front of your original wall. This will provide a sturdy wall and enough space to drill holes for wiring. Unless you worry about a moisture problem, I see no need to rip off existing plaster since it will not be seen anyways.

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Old 10-06-2008, 05:32 AM   #3
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Rebuilding an interior wall


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Originally Posted by diyfreak View Post
If I were faced with this problem I would just build a real 2x4 framed wall right in front of your original wall. This will provide a sturdy wall and enough space to drill holes for wiring. Unless you worry about a moisture problem, I see no need to rip off existing plaster since it will not be seen anyways.
This is a very good suggestion.

It is the concept of building a "sleeper" wall in front of the damaged wall.

We do this when we have old existing walls that are not plumb, and are also "wavy" horizontally.

When the space can be sacrificed, it is more cost efficient to build a new wall in front of the old damaged wall (It takes more time & money to repair, than it takes to just "go-over" it).

I would suggest using 2x3's instead. You would only loose about 3" of space.
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Old 10-06-2008, 06:51 AM   #4
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Rebuilding an interior wall


Consensus seems to be, ignore the old plaster and build a sleeper wall. The only remaining question I have then: are 2x2s good enough (I want to minimize space being lost, and have some lying around)? I don't mind going to a 2x3 or 2x4, but I'd like to maximize the living space. Also, at one end of the wall, there is a framed in closet door. The opening of the door looks to be about 4 inches from the raw brick wall, so I'd like to keep the new wall tighter than this so as not to interfere with the closet door opening.

If I do go the route of removing the old plaster (again, only to maximize living space and for aesthetics at the closet door), what is the easiest way to do so?

Thanks for the replies!

Chris
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Old 10-06-2008, 07:08 AM   #5
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Rebuilding an interior wall


i think #3 should be ok, (2x2) but the depth of the boxes concerned me. however, since you have plaster that comes off easily, just whack it with a hammer to remove it to make more room so the boxes will fit properly. this SHOULD be fine. least amount of work and most room.
but what do i know? i'm just a mouse.....

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Old 10-06-2008, 09:30 AM   #6
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Rebuilding an interior wall


Here is a question that came to mind: Is the wall a required fire wall between the two units and is the plaster a required component of the firewall? If so you won't want to chip it out for the electrical boxes and might need to do a little patching to bring it's fire wall rating back.

Using 2x2s you'll have to be careful in selecting your electrical boxes to make sure you meet fill requirements. You might need to go to 4"x4" boxes with a mudring.
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Old 10-06-2008, 10:09 AM   #7
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Rebuilding an interior wall


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Here is a question that came to mind: Is the wall a required fire wall between the two units and is the plaster a required component of the firewall? If so you won't want to chip it out for the electrical boxes and might need to do a little patching to bring it's fire wall rating back.
The well is most definitely a firewall between the two units, but I have no idea if the plaster is a 'required' component of that. Any idea where I would go to find out?

Quote:
Using 2x2s you'll have to be careful in selecting your electrical boxes to make sure you meet fill requirements. You might need to go to 4"x4" boxes with a mudring.
I don't know what 'fill requirements' are. Again, any idea where I would find this information?

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Old 10-06-2008, 10:12 AM   #8
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Rebuilding an interior wall


good point

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Old 10-06-2008, 11:32 AM   #9
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Rebuilding an interior wall


Your local buiding department would be the source I would use regarding maintaining the firewall requirements.

The fill requirements for an electrical box are given in the NEC for the US and are probably in a similar national electric code for Canada. Local jurisdictions may also have their modifications. Basically there is a limit to how many and what size wires can be in a certain size electrical boxes. Some shallow electrical boxes have very limited capacity and may not be suitable if you are wanting to extend power from box to box.

Here is a link to an article that has a short discussion on fill and the limits of typical single gang boxes.
http://www.taunton.com/finehomebuild.../021103058.pdf


Last edited by jogr; 10-06-2008 at 11:37 AM.
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